British prime minister Gordon Brown will head a government delegation set to meet General Motors management to discuss making the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera at the automaker’s Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire.
Ampera is the European version of the Chevrolet Volt. It has ‘range’ extender technology using a small petrol engine to recharge batteries once the initial charge from domestic or infrastructure points runs out en route.
The talks will also include government business secretary Peter Mandelson, the Sunday Telegraph said, adding that GM hopes to build 220,000 plug-in hybrids in the UK every year to 2015 and has already met with Brown to try to secure tax breaks to produce the new model.
The car maker is also thought to want the prime minister to order public charging points for electric cars to be installed on thousands of British streets.
Around 10,000 GM jobs across Europe are at risk across Europe, with the Magna/Sberbank/GAZ consortium that successfully bid planning cuts worth an estimated GBP719m, equivalent to shutting three of GM’s nine European plants, should the deal go ahead.
Germany, with half of GM Europe’s 50,000 workers, will lose only a quarter of the expected job cuts, thanks to the GBP5.25bn in loan guarantees offered by its government.
GM also has workers in Britain, Spain, Belgium, Austria and Poland.